Up till the 1980s narrativist philosophers of history were mainly interested in the cognitivist dimension of historical narrative. With Hayden White this interest was exchanged for an exclusive preoccupation with the literary aspects of the historian’s narrative representation of the past. However, it may seem that a revival of pre-Whitean narrativist philosophy of history is at hand. Two recent books suggest as much: one by Chiel van den Akker published in 2018 and one more by Paul Roth that came out in 2020. Obviously, a narrativist revival can take two different forms. It may aim at providing pre-Whitean narrativism with a more up-to-date philosophical basis or at guiding it into new directions. It will be argued in this review-essay that the book by Roth mainly does the former, whereas the book by Van den Akker does both.
In describing the Stoic principles, the manuscript tradition of DL 7.134 preserves readings which variously call them σώµατα, ‘bodies’, or ἀσώµατα, ‘incorporeals’; but the Suida quotes this passage with ἀσωµάτους, ‘incorporeal’. This paper shows that the Suida has the best reading (and that, in any case, σώµατα is least likely to be right). This is not the only, or the clearest, case where the Suida can correct our text: another example considered here concerns DL 7.74.
According to the Stoics, ordinary unified bodies—animals, plants, and inanimate natural bodies—each have a single cause of unity and being: pneuma. Pneuma itself has no distinct cause of unity; on the contrary, it acts as a cause of unity and being for itself. In this paper, I show how pneuma is supposed to be able to unify itself and other bodies in virtue of its characteristic tensile motion (τονικὴ κίνησις). Thus, we will see how the Stoics could have hoped to account for corporeal unity by positing another body (pneuma) apparently itself in need of unification.
In this paper I aim to ascribe to Chrysippus two ‘compatibilist’ theories and to explain their differences through the fact that our sources depend on different parts of the philosopher’s corpus. This can be confirmed by a passage in Eusebius and by Chrysippus’ wordy style of writing. In my opinion, Alexander and Nemesius report the more general theory, stating that fate rules everything but employs the nature of each being as a means to accomplish its plans. Cicero and Gellius report a theory more connected with human responsibility. Their accounts are similar, but the fact that they are not drawing upon the same source becomes clear once we analyse in detail the objections to which the philosopher was responding: Cicero seems to report a criticism levelled by Arcesilaus against Zeno, Gellius one levelled against Chrysippus by his contemporaries.
The article argues that in the Symposium, but also the Phaedrus and the Protagoras, Plato instructs us on the correct way of engaging in discourse by adducing examples from the activities of drinking and singing (/performing poetry). By presenting Socrates as grappling with the use of wine, rhetoric and poetry, almost failing at times, but always able to recollect himself and identify the faults in his methods (as well as of others), Plato recognizes the difficulties of the process, while acknowledging Socrates’ extraordinary intellect.
In Book v of Plato’s Laws, he defends that a virtuous life is better than a vicious one, based on the idea that the former involves more pleasure than the latter (733a-734e). The use of this kind of argumentation seems to contradict other passages of the Laws, in which it will be objected that pleasure can work as a criterion of election. This essay aims to show that this recourse does not presuppose any kind of hedonism. In order to prove this, I hold that in the Laws (i) education tries to integrate our natural tendencies in the good life; (ii) this integration is possible because some pleasures can be pursued for their own sake because they are harmless. Based on these principles, I argue that (iii) the argument of Book v appeals to the possibility of choosing pleasure if they are not involved in other criteria of election.
In a characteristically stimulating and important paper, ‘Episteme’, Myles Burnyeat discusses what he calls the epistemic troika, which consists of knowledge by acquaintance, knowledge that, and knowledge how. He argues that the troika ‘lacks universal validity’; he ‘suspects’ that it is the product of Anglophone philosophy in the 1950s-early 1970s. He also challenges the philosophical value of the troika. In my paper, I explore the troika, both in its own right and as a guide to Plato’s epistemology; I also assess Burnyeat’s views on these issues.
Thanks to the exegesis, Iamblichus succeeds in forging a psycho-epistemological doctrine which can boast a remarkable degree of consistency, albeit not always without minor flaws. Notably, the exegesis of Plato’s Phaedrus plays a pivotal role in constructing this system, despite moving not from phrases of the dialogue, but simply from single words, like κυβερνήτης and ἡνίοχος. Iamblichus’ anathema against Plotinus’ psychology makes Socrates’ palinode the sacred text from which to elicit those formulae of orthodoxy bound to be devoutly recited by posterior Platonists, like Hermias of Alexandria. Indeed, in this text the divine Plato has revealed the essence of the triad νοερόν, νοητόν, κριτήριον, whose each element is susceptible of being dichotomized: νοερόν in νοῦς and ἕν, νοητόν in νοητόν and ἀκρότατα νοητά, κριτήριον in καθαρμός/φιλοσοφία and ἐνθουσιασμός/θεουργία. The result of this complex and fascinating move is an outstanding proof of philology and philosophy, psychology and epistemology hermeneutics and mysticism.
The aim of this paper is to show that an introductory step to the Neoplatonic exegesis of the dialogue was to redefine the figure of Socrates and Socratism, so as to offer aspiring Platonists a correct interpretation of Plato and of the Neoplatonic metaphysical system. In the final stages of a long tradition, Socrates became the teacher par excellence not only of Plato but of all Platonists. In particular, by focusing on the Prolegomena to Platonic philosophy I wish to highlight the fact that, when it comes to teaching, there is no Socrates but Plato’s teacher, a teacher whose many voices – universalised according to well-defined criteria – can also be attributed to Plato. If Plato came to be seen as polyphonic and always self-consistent, this is probably because it was possible to show that Socrates’ hallmark was his ability to remain consistent while expressing many different opinions in the dialogues.